UNESCO has named new World Heritage Sites around the world
The United States' newest site is in San Antonio
Uruguay, France and Jordan also have new listings
To explore a site inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List is to see a place of outstanding universal value.
They are among the 27 newest members of the exclusive UNESCO World Heritage List.
Since Friday, the United Nations’ cultural body has named natural, cultural and combination sites around the world to its prestigious preservation list. The World Heritage List now includes 1,031 natural and cultural wonders that are considered to be places of “outstanding universal value.”
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has been considering new sites at a meeting in Qatar since June 15.
In addition to being of “outstanding universal value,” an inscribed site must also meet at least one of 10 criteria such as “representing a masterpiece of human creative genius,” containing “exceptional natural beauty” or being an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement.
UNESCO has been adding sites to the World Heritage List since 1978. Nations often spend years developing pitches for inclusion on the list because of its significant cultural cachet and the fame and resources it can attract to sites in need of restoration and protection. They must convince the UNESCO committee that they will protect their sites and support them financially.
Sites in danger
The hills where Battir’s ancient terraces are located date back some 2,000 years to Roman times. Some of the terraces are irrigated for market garden production and others are planted with grapevines and olive trees. The landscape is in danger of being damaged by Israel’s plans to build a barrier through the area. The wall “may isolate farmers from fields they have cultivated for centuries,” according to a UNESCO press statement.
The committee declined to add the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the list in danger last week, much to the relief of Australia’s government, which had feared the negative attention.
The committee cited improvements in the government’s response to the reef’s problems but set a December 2016 deadline for a report on improvements to the beloved site. Pollution and coal projects have brought the reef worldwide attention, and many environmental groups have lobbied for the “in danger” listing.
At the same time, Tanzania’s ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and ruins of Songo Mnara were removed from the danger list due to improved management and safeguards.
The United States doesn’t have much sway over UNESCO decisions anymore. That’s because the U.S. government withdrew its dues and other financial contributions to UNESCO in 2011 after the agency admitted the Palestinian government as a full member representing a country. After failing to pay its dues for two years, the United States lost UNESCO voting rights in 2013 per the agency’s rules.
After failing to pay its dues for two years, the United States lost UNESCO voting rights in 2013, per the agency’s rules.
Go to whc.unesco.org/en/newproperties to learn more about the newly named sites.
UNESCO’s newly inscribed World Heritage List sites
- China: Tusi sites
- Denmark: Christiansfeld, a Moravian Church settlement
- Denmark: Par Force hunting landscape in North Zealand
- France: Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars
- France: Climats, terroirs of Burgundy
- Germany: Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus
- Iran: Cultural landscape of Maymand
- Iran: Susa
- Israel: Necropolis of Bet She’arim, a landmark of Jewish renewal
- Italy: Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedral churches of Cefalú and Monreale
- Jamaica: Blue and John Crow mountains
- Japan: Sites of Japan’s Meiji industrial revolution
- Jordan: Baptism site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas)
- Republic of Korea: Baekje historic areas
- Mexico: Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque hydraulic system
- Mongolia: Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape
- Norway: Notodden industrial heritage site in Rjukan
- Saudi Arabia: Rock art in the Hail Region of Saudi Arabia
- Singapore: Singapore Botanical Gardens
- South Africa: Cape Floral Region protected areas (significant extension of “Cape Floral Region protected areas” site)
- Spain: Routes of Santiago in Northern Spain (significant extension of “Routes of Santiago de Compostela” site)
- Turkey: Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens cultural landscape
- Turkey: Ephesus
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: The Forth Bridge
- United States: San Antonio Missions
- Uruguay: Fray Bentos cultural-industrial landscape
- Viet Nam: Ke Bang National Park (significant extension of “Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park” site)